Neymar and Lucas Paqueta is the difference that does it in the end for Brazil – and ensures they solidify their spot atop the CONMEBOL Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying group once again.
A spirited Paraguay just lacked the final third options to catch them out; it is the Selecao who will leave Asuncion with their head held high. Full-time at Estadio Defensores del Chaco, it finishes Paraguay 0-2 Brazil.
Eduardo Berizzo will have plenty of positives to take from that one. That injury-time goal has added a bit of gloss to the result that perhaps does Paraguay a disservice. But they will fancy holding their own in the Copa America.
Brazil had not beaten Paraguay away from home since 1985 but they took the lead as early as the third minute when Neymar controlled an awkward cross from Gabriel Jesus and side-footed home from close range.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker came into this match with four goals and three assists in Brazil’s five qualifying games so far, the best haul in the tournament, and the goal was his 66th in 105 games for his country.
Wearing their change blue strips, Brazil were on top throughout and should have added to their total before the fourth minute of injury time when Paqueta scored with a splendid left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Paraguay were unbeaten in five games in the South American qualifiers but rarely threatened the visitors, and even when they did they found Manchester City’s Ederson, a surprise choice to replace Liverpool’s Alisson Becker in goal, equal to their efforts, with one flying save from Omar Alderete right out the top drawer.
Tite though will now turn his attention to just what the Copa America means for him and the Selecao. They are due to face Venezuela in their opening clash, while Paraguay face Bolivia.